Former EY veteran relives Kerala experience to set up own venture

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on December 09, 2016

Binu Koshy, founder, Exponential Digital Technologies

Exponential Digital Technologies will provide automation services

Binu Koshy, veteran of professional services firm EY who built up from scratch its multi-million-dollar Global Delivery Services facility here, is at it again.

Only, he has quit his latest position as Leader of The Innovation Hub at EY, to set up his own start-up.

Turns full circle

He had set up EY here more or less as a start-up in 2002. So, the entrepreneurial wheel seems to have turned a full circle. Seven ‘core’ EY people have joined him in the new start-up, Koshy told BusinessLine here.

“We’re starting with automation. That’s one concept behind all things disrupting our lives.”

Koshy held the exalted title as a Global Partner at EY and had a number of years still left in service.

But an executive programme that he underwent at Singularity University in the US provided the spark to think afresh.

‘Offshoring is dying’

Koshy has a compelling logic to explain his decision. “The offshoring wave is dying. And the next wave has already been created, which is digital.”

The smartphone is nine years old, and just think about how it has disrupted life…it has the power that the US president wielded in the late 70s.

Things are now moving exponentially. If in the past nine years the smartphone has gone this far, the growth in the next nine is something we cannot imagine.

For less than $1,000, one gets the equivalent of a human brain in one’s hands. This is all because of technology disruptions brought about by exponential growth in processing power.

Machine power

This was part of the learning that Koshy acquired at Singularity. “Offshoring happened because we had cheap talent. It was basically labour arbitrage at work,” he said.

But machines are becoming more powerful and they can take jobs done today by the BPOs at one-third the costs.

So one would somebody offshore it? If companies can do it at a much lower cost locally, why should offshoring happen?

“At Singularity, they were talking about the future and future alone… how disruptions are going to happen… right from blockchain to automation. That inspired me to think whether I should stay with EY or should I go out and create the next one.”

EY as client

The new start-up is aptly called Exponential Digital Technologies (10xDS). “We will be still working with EY, which will be one of our clients,” Koshy said.

“We will also go to banks and other service industries.” 10xDS has taken space at the Kerala Startup Mission incubator here.

Koshy’s seven ‘core’ people include CAs, engineers, and pros with marketing, operations, and a mix of client-facing and engineering background.

“We’re starting with our own savings. If need be, we will raise funds as we go.”

Anything that is repeated and predictable can be automated. These include BPO services and offshoring at large, says Koshy.

“So, automation is the first thing for us to get into. Artificial intelligence, robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) shall follow.”

Kerala base

Just think about the blockchain, which is going to disrupt the financial industry — an independent, transparent and permanent database coexisting in multiple locations and shared by a community, Koshy said.

It is a database with built-in validation. The ‘block’ validation system ensures that nobody can tamper with the records.

The changes we see took so much time to happen, Koshy said, but it is going to be exponential now. In the next 20-30 years, what we’ll get to see will have happened much faster than we did in the last 100 years.

“We’ve to make people prepare themselves for the change. That’s why we thought we should set up base in Kerala. We’ll be the first purely digital company here. We are connected with multiple vendors already. We will help companies become more efficient by automating business processes, which will ensure 24x7 operations. Going forward, we’ll look at the financial, utility and healthcare sectors.”

Published on December 09, 2016
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